Fantastic scenery and a top class golf course are assured when you play at Lewes. Built in 1896 atop chalk hills in the heart of Sussex, the elevated course winds it way through rolling south coast countryside, with picturesque views of the South Downs and the historic town from which it gets its name. On a clear day it is possible to pick out landmarks in the Sussex Weald and as far as the North Downs.
This downland track is very much a traditional test and, as it is built on chalk soil, it is playable throughout the year without the need for temporary greens or tees. However, the free-draining chalk is also a major draw-back in the summer as the greens dry out incredibly quickly without water. The site also has an 85m height difference across it—the 18th green is at the bottom and the 11th green at the course summit.
Although there was a 35 year old u-PVC irrigation main on the course, keep- ing the greens alive was a major issue. The old pipe required frequent repairs which cost the club both financially and in man-power. However, quotations had been received through an irrigation consultant which exceeded the club’s expectations. Trenching Services of Boston were able to match the brief given by the club, and commenced the installation in January 2015 with technical support from Irriplan.
The installation of the new irrigation system at Lewes Golf Club required extra attention as the ground conditions were extremely tough. There is only a thin layer of topsoil over compact chalk. The new sprinklers and pumpset had to be flexible enough to allow equal pressure at all of the greens. It was preferable that the system would also be flexible enough to cover wherever possible additional areas such as walk-off zones. The Course Manager also required remote control for maintenance purposes, but was limited due to poor mobile signals.
For Lewes Golf Club the decision was straightforward Hunters Industries DDIH (Double-Decoder-In-Head) G885 rotors for the greens which were paired with a standard G885E VIH sprinkler which would be controlled through a Hunter AGC-99D wall-mount controller. The AGC controller would be fitted with a UHF receiver modem and work in tandem with the Hunter TRNR remote control UHF handset.
The DIH rotors offer total top access to all of the rotor’s internal components due to their exclusive and patented Total Top Servicing (TTS) features. Hunter’s DDIH rotors also offer Total Top Programming (TTP) of the decoder’s station addresses, another patented technology from Hunter. With the unique DIH features, there was no need to disrupt the playing surface or disassemble the installed rotors in order to access the decoders. The Hunter AGC-99D has the capability of operating up to 8 solenoids simultaneously and may be pre-programmed with 6 automatic programs, each of which may have up to 10 individual start times. The controller also has a cycle-and-soak facility which is particularly useful on the downland slopes.
The project was handed over with full training having been given to all of the greens staff at Lewes Golf Club.